Community engagement needed to address plastic waste menace- CUTS Ghana

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CUTS Ghana, a research, advocacy and consumer protection organisation, has suggested to Government to intensify grassroots and community engagements on the country’s plastic waste menace to address the situation.

It also called for a behavioural change among Ghanaians in the disposal of such waste to reduce its impact on the environment.

Mr Appiah Kusi Adomako, Country Director of CUTS, who made the suggestion at a stakeholder engagement, said with the increasing use of natural resources and the ever-growing volume of waste generated in Accra alone, it was clear that the country’s current plastic waste production and consumption had to change fundamentally.

The stakeholder engagement, organised by the CUTS Ghana in collaboration with Consumer International, was aimed at raising consumer awareness on the adverse effect of single-use plastics on the environment and how it could significantly be reduced if not eliminated.

It was on the topic: “Practical Measures on Reducing the Usage of Single-use Plastics among the Populace in Ghana.”

He said: “There is the need to intensify grassroots and community engagement, especially among women, children and the youth to drum home the rippling effects of our unsustainable plastics consumptions patterns and lifestyles.We are advocating for behavioural changes in adopting best waste disposal and reduction practices among all sections of the population.”

Government, in its 2021 Budget Statement, announced a 10-pesewas Sanitation and Pollution Levy, to provide it with the requisite resources to address sanitation challenges and fund the activities planned to ensure the country was cleaned.

The levy would be charged on the price per litre of petrol/diesel under the Energy Sector Levies Act (ESLA).
Mr Adomako lauded the government for introduction of the levy and urged it to ensure that revenue accrued from the tax was used for the intended purpose.

“The essence of the levy is to help the state mobilize revenue to clean the constant pile-up of plastic waste in the country. This is a good initiative and I call on the government to use the funds raised for the purpose for which it was mobilised,” he added.

Mr Shadrack Nii Yarboi Yartey, Communication and Advocacy Lead at CUTS Ghana, said plastic usage and its disposals had not only become an environmental and health threat but also a financial burden to the Ghanaians, as well as the state.

“In some cases, shops and businesses surcharge customers extra for polythene or other plastic bags; this comes at a cost to the consumer,” he said, adding that: “The constant pile-up of single-use plastics around the capital and in gutters is a worrying trend.”

He said pragmatic measures must therefore be adopted and implemented by all to reverse the unsustainable culture.

“Evidence suggests that a significant reduction and responsible usage of plastics helps, in the long run, to reduce the amount of waste that is generated and the overexposure of the poor and the marginalized to taxes and additional surcharges,” Mr Yartey noted.

Government, he said, should dialogue with all stakeholders on a possible ban of single-use plastics in the country as this would go a long way to redress the plastic menace in the country.

The stakeholder engagement formed part of a series of activities to mark this year’s Green Action Week on the theme: “Community Sharing.”

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